Researchers at UH and THI Report Utility of Rubbery Bioelectronic Cardiac Patches in Nature Electronics

Researchers at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) working with a team of engineers at the University of Houston led by Dr. Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, have reported in Nature Electronics a patch made from fully rubbery electronics that can be placed directly on the heart to collect electrophysiological activity, temperature, heartbeat, and other indicators, all at the same time.

In addition to the ability to simultaneously collect information from multiple locations on the heart – a characteristic known as spatiotemporal mapping – the device can harvest energy from the beating heart, allowing it to perform without an external power source. The researchers reported that it could also be used to deliver therapeutic benefits such as electrical pacing and thermal ablation.

Dr. Elgalad, the assistant director of the Center for Preclinical Surgical and Interventional Research at Texas Heart Institute and co-author of the publication, said, “It is challenging to implant conventional patches or devices on the surface of a beating porcine heart, but if you look at this fantastic technology with its unique capabilities, you find that it deserves the time and effort for further development.”

The rubbery epicardial patch is capable of multiplexed ECG mapping, strain and temperature sensing, electrical pacing, thermal ablation, and energy harvesting functions. “Our mission at the Center for Preclinical Surgical & Interventional Research at THI is to make the testing of promising engineering ideas feasible by helping research teams identify appropriate preclinical models and implement device testing,” added Dr. Elgalad.


Read Nature Electronics Study

Sim, K., Ershad, F., Zhang, Y. et al. An epicardial bioelectronic patch made from soft rubbery materials and capable of spatiotemporal mapping of electrophysiological activity. Nat Electron(2020).